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Privacy top issue in mobile tracking, PunchTab survey shows

Privacy concerns would keep half of consumers from permitting retail mobile trackers to know their location, although more than a quarter would allow tracking if given the right incentives, according to a survey by the 
PunchTab marketing firm.

More than 50 percent of survey participants said privacy was the top concern related to mobile tracking while 27 percent said they would likely allow mobile tracking if the right incentives came with it. The results show that marketers still have a long way to go to build consumer trust although progress is being made.

?I'm not surprised that consumers still have reservations around sharing their location with retailers,? said Yoni Solomon, product marketing manager with Chicago-based Vibes. ?That being said, I'm encouraged by PunchTab's findings. 

?The fact that one quarter of consumers are actually willing to share their location in return for value-added features like incentives and faster check-out times tells me that although consumers remain sensitive to over-communication and privacy issues ? they still understand the value that can come from establishing a strong mobile relationship with a retailer.? 

Excessive marketing
More than 1,100 consumers participated in the survey, which aimed to reveal the top consumer concerns for tracking, a marketing tactic which uses mobile devices? GPS to track the customer?s location and offer relevant, real-time information and offers based on that information.
After privacy, the top consumer concern related to mobile tracking was excessive marketing, with more than 36 percent citing the frequency, intrusiveness, and irrelevant messages as deterrents.
The most popular reasons for sharing locations were coupons and offers (88 percent), shorter checkout times (72 percent), and targeted alerts about sales and products they like (69 percent).

Fifty-eight percent said they would value getting their points status, or rewards availability, via their mobile device.
Fifty percent who said they were on the fence about their likelihood of allowing mobile tracking also said they were more likely to try it as the value of the incentivized coupon increased.
Types of retailers most positively associated with mobile tracking were superstores (84 percent), department stores (78 percent), grocery (74 percent), and home improvement stores (60 percent).

Want benefits
The findings illustrate that consumers want to benefit from a relationship with a brand ? they want to be marketed to on their own terms, they want messaging to be timely and relevant to them, and they want to feel like they're being rewarded with offers and exclusive, targeted alerts, according to Mr. Solomon. 

?The best way to alleviate consumer privacy concerns is to use the data your consumers grant you wisely,? Mr. Solomon said. ?For the most part, consumer reservations around privacy stem from experiences around over-communication and interruptive marketing. Use that data to create positive brand experiences.

Consumers' favored retailers in tracking, according to survey.

Delivering personalized offers, relevant messaging and exclusive content will make consumers not only willing to share data with you, but happy to do it, because they'll know they're getting something valuable in return from your brand, he said. 

The results reaffirm the importance of leveraging data to deliver personalized, timely mobile experiences to customers, Mr. Solomon said. 

?When marketers are operating through disparate systems that don't speak to each other ? that's when communication redundancy and over-communication happens.

?My advice would be to invest in holistic technology that grants you as a marketer that birds-eye view of your entire mobile audience. Taking this "top-down" approach to mobile marketing will ensure your messaging remains relevant.? 

Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.